Expectation vs. Reality

Dreams are a monumental part of the human spirit. No, not the REM type dreams, but those that rest somewhere deep inside that tell us in hushed whispers what we were meant to do in order to be happy. For me, creativity is always something that brings me peace. It helps channel the beauty I see as well as the tragedy that occurs. It gives me an indirect voice to my opinion at times without stamping it as my own. I can relieve frustration (nothing like killing off a character) and it allows me to play God when I feel I have no control.

During my early years, I was an avid movie watcher (still am actually). I took ideas from what I’d seen and channel it through my own dialog or spin it into a new story. The older I got, the more I enjoyed the random thoughts and knew I could make one awesome-sauce story out of it. I sat down and wrote about 30 pages and was feeling on top of the world. Then the gas in my imaginarium (definition below) tank ran dry.

The fumes that sputtered out made no connective sense and it was a literal struggle to make anything productive happen. My expectation was that it was easy, the reality was that without a map to guide me, my path led me in an infinite amount of directions. It was a long journey of starting and stopping before I finally reached the age of decision.

For myself, I had been thinking, talking and hoping to become an author since before I graduated high school. Circumstances and timing had me putting those dreams on hold up until the last couple of years.

I was sitting in my car one day, watching the stop light change colors from one block to the next and I couldn’t realize where my life was at. I wasn’t unhappy, I was just not fully myself. I looked at all the aspects of my life at the time and wondered what was missing. I had a decent job, a loving wife, a wonderful daughter, my health and I wasn’t destitute. So, what was it?

It took a few days to really see the missing piece of me that had not made it into the puzzle. I was a writer, I was not an author. As I see it, we are all writers. We each have a story to tell. Whether it’s short, an audio book, a novel or a biography; we all are capable of relating to one another through those experiences, fictitious or not.

Authors, in my opinion, don’t have to be published. What they have to be is dedicated. They have to sit at a computer or typewriter or pad of paper and transcribe their thoughts until a story is present. Then they have to edit the shit out of that. They have to get help, be shown what’s good, what sucks and what can make it great.

I was a writer, jotting down ideas from one month to the next. I was doing it as a hobby, telling others about how I was trying to write a book but literally the chain was off the spoke. I had been spinning in place for so long that the momentum to take my ideas anywhere was fading. It was the age of decision. I was getting too complacent with where I was and it started to make me subconsciously unhappy. I like my job and the people I work with, but if you were to ask me if this is where I see myself upon retirement, “hopefully not” would be the answer.

I had to make a choice. Either pursue or surrender.

I know that I am meant for different things and I realize over the last year that I had been giving a lot of explanations, excuses and justifications when I simply needed to do it. And whether I actually get picked up by a literary agent and a publishing house or wind up self-publishing, getting my story out there is what I truly care about. If I break even with sales vs my expenses, I’d be a happy cat.

My expectations growing up had me thinking that writing was easy. You think of a book, you write it, someone publishes it and you make your living. That, much like any career in the world, was where I first went wrong. Not believing in myself and just going along with where life was taking me was my next false step.

The reality is that dreams are wonderful and motivating, but make no mistake, they’re still work. Nothing in this world is easy and we can all attest to that. If anyone’s reality exceeds their expectations then they are either setting the bar extremely low or they are some pretty fortuitous bastards.

If you have a passion, do it. Don’t wonder about it, do it. If you’re good or persistent enough, it will happen. If you don’t get famous enough or rich enough, guess what? It’s not a passion. Simply doing it should make you happy.

Leave comments, let me know what your calling in life is.


imaginarium (n)

  • i·mag·i·nar·i·um [i màjjə naree əm]
    1 . made up word that is the place where I get all of my creative ideas from
    2. the well for creative thought

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